• Barbara Elk

Albert & Margaret

Thankfully, I was born with a great memory.

I believe that those memories helped me when I was stolen during the 60s Scoop and moved into horrible situations with damaged people.

And after those damaged people abused me, I would inwardly curl up and replay my family's memories.

One of my favorite are the memories of my grandparents, my mother's parents on Sioux Valley Dakota Reserve. My mother would take us to visit her parents who lived in a tiny, unpainted house with narrow wooden steps that led to a front door, and upon opening that door, there was a large open room. (I'm only a few years old at this point in my life so everything appeared "large".)

On the left side of the room, there was a small kitchen area with a counter. I saw my grandmother standing with her back towards me, talking to my mother who stood nearby. There was enough natural light streaming in from the window beside the kitchen area that I could see my grandmother was cutting up food on the counter in front of her.

I took a couple more steps in and saw a wide bed in the left corner of the room, neatly made up. In the center of the room was a black stove that had a small door.

I turned around and went down the steps.

Later on in the evening, my siblings and I were put to bed. We laid out on the bare floor in front of the warm stove, snuggled up with blankets. I felt safe and secure. I heard my grandmother's voice and I turned to look at her. She told us to go to sleep and not to play around and we listened. My siblings moved into comfortable positions and I closed my eyes, My grandfather and grandmother spoke to each other in hushed voices as they also settled in for the night. Somewhere outside, I could hear a wolf cry, somewhere beyond the dark outline of the distant tree line.

I fell asleep.

Today, I have a picture of my grandparents in our living room, displayed prominently. When I see their picture, look at their gentle expressions, I'm reminded of the love I had for them as a young child. I also know that they loved us, their grandchildren. I could tell from the way they took care of us and by the way they looked at us.

I took this picture in 1992. It was the first time I went back to Sioux Valley since I was taken.

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